This is my watch- about 12 years old- an unusual design and so, many people ask me where I got it. It has a sentimental value for me because it was bought so that I could hold my children when they were small as it has no spiky bits. But since last week, this watch has become even more valuable to me. All because it taught me mindfulness.
I was at a celebration last week because an affable colleague of mine received knighthood. The venue was the beautiful Goldsmith’s hall in the City of London, shining in the resplendent glory of golden chandeliers, skilfully crafted tableware and oil paintings. Wine, conversation and food flowed; and time passed until, it was time for speeches. I looked at my watch. It was not there!
I recalled where I had been all day. Perhaps I had lost in the crowded tube, perhaps in the ladies toilet, perhaps when I was at the drinks reception (I have a habit of fiddling with it), perhaps a pickpocket had skilfully taken it off- my mind raced around London, looking for clues about the missing watch. The sound of clapping disturbed my thoughts.
It was time for my colleague to speak. And it was time for me to give him my full attention. I spent two minutes rationalising about the situation while he ascended the podium. It was time to let go of this watch. After all, I had another watch to replace it. Okay, the other watch was not an unusual design but still, a good make. Perhaps I would find it in the hall somewhere (I sent a message to the Senior Houseman). But at the moment, I realised that I was sitting right in front of my colleague and I needed to listen to what he was saying. I needed to respect his evening. I also needed to enjoy the moment and be in the present, not in the past or future. So after this small battle, I stayed focussed and really enjoyed his speech, being genuinely happy for him and his family.
Surprisingly for me, I even managed not to talk about my watch when the speeches were finished- there were things that were of greater importance than the loss of a 12 year old watch. I tried to broaden my world and enjoy the last of the evening.
And when I returned to the cloakroom to get my coat on the way out, there was my watch waiting for me! The cloakroom manager had found it- I had no idea when I had dropped it. I was of course, very happy to get it back. But I was happier to have learnt the big lessons of mindfulness and that of respecting people, rather than worrying about material things. Of broadening my heart and learning to live with a loss (even though this turned out to be not true). One day, this watch will breakdown and I will have to part with it. But having already lost it once, I know it won’t be a big deal then.